Lucy Rees' Wild Pony is today's Advent Calendar title, and is the suggestion of Lucy Bruckner. Wild Pony was Lucy Rees' first book, and she wrote it while she had her own riding school, which no doubt provided her with plenty of raw material on which to draw. Heroine Pippa and her parents move to the country (Wales) and Pippa, classic star-crossed, pony-less girl, dreams of having a pony now that having somewhere to keep it isn't the huge problem it was while living in town.
As is the way of these things, lack of money means compromises must be made, and the compromise Pippa makes is buying a wild pony off the Welsh hills who is at times downright dangerous. This doesn't help her relationship with her parents. Christmas arrives, and Pippa spends some of it with her family, but sneaks off to see her friend Susan, and then to Ty Mawr, where live the bohemian family that fascinates Pippa. Pippa gives them possibly one of the most memorable pony book Christmas presents ever:
"I had a present for them all, but I wasn't at all sure about it, although it was one of my most treasured possessions: a complete goat's skull, with enormous horn, that I'd found up in the hills. I put the parcel on a chair, said goodbye, and left. They didn't seem to notice. But as I was catching the pony the door opened and they all tumbled out.
"Hey, don't run away, you haven't had this yet." It was a heavy belt, with an old brass buckle. All handmade. Lovely. I felt ashamed.
Mum and Dad, of course, were upset and curious when I got back."